The Eternal Ones of the Dream: Selected Poems 1990 - 2010

Overview

A breathtaking collection of work from 1990 to 2010 by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner James Tate

James Tate's poems are evocative, provocative, funny, subtle, eccentric, occasionally disturbing, and wildly outrageous. His surrealist style strikes its own utterly new and original note in American poetry, transforming our everyday world into sublime burlesque—a world where women give birth to wolves, wild babies are found in gardens, and Saint Nick visits on a hot ...

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Overview

A breathtaking collection of work from 1990 to 2010 by Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner James Tate

James Tate's poems are evocative, provocative, funny, subtle, eccentric, occasionally disturbing, and wildly outrageous. His surrealist style strikes its own utterly new and original note in American poetry, transforming our everyday world into sublime burlesque—a world where women give birth to wolves, wild babies are found in gardens, and Saint Nick visits on a hot July day. Tate's signature style draws on a marvelous variety of voices and characters, all of which sound vaguely familiar but are each fantastically unique, brilliant, and deeply particular.

The Eternal Ones of the Dream features Tate's work from the last two decades, selected from seven books of poetry. The poems span from 1990's Distance from Loved Ones to 2009's The Ghost Soldiers, showcasing the impressive breadth of talent. As W. S. Merwin said of Tate, "Mr. Tate's gift is such that many of [his] poems move me at least to plain envy of what he can do."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Tate is now in the late period of a long and influential career in poetry. His early style, unfurled in books like The Lost Pilot and Viper Jazz, combined a zany, surreal sense of humor with a sad, middle-American loneliness. It was a guiding light, along with Ashbery’s work from the 1950s–1970s, for a huge chunk of American poetry over the past 40 years. Represented here, however, is Tate’s late style, a subtle reinvention of his own devising, though influenced, it would seem, by the prose poems of Russell Edson. Wily fables, tall tales, in which an unwitting protagonist stumbles into one ridiculous situation after another, are peopled by a rotating cast of humorous foils. In “Long-Term Memory,” a man is feeding pigeons in a park when another man “scrutinized my/ face right up close. ‘There’s a statue of you/ over there,’ he said. ‘You should be dead. What/ did you do to deserve a statue?’” Portrayals of the military make as little sense as, say, the military: “After the burial/ we returned to our units/ and assumed our poses./ Our posture was the new posture/ and not the old posture.” A desk drawer is cleaned out to reveal “a paper bag with/ a baloney sandwich in it that must have been three years old. I found/ some notecards with hieroglyphics carefully written on them.” From these odd setups come odder conclusions. It’s hard to say whether this is poetry or prose, funny or sad, important or frivolous. Whatever it is, though, it’s good reading. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062101860
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/27/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 252
  • Sales rank: 682,589
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

James Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He is the author of sixteen books of poetry, including The Ghost Soldiers; Return to the City of White Donkeys; Memoir of the Hawk; Shroud of the Gnome; Worshipful Company of Fletchers, which won the National Book Award in 1994; Selected Poems, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award in 1991; Distance from Loved Ones; Reckoner; Constant Defender; Riven Doggeries; Viper Jazz; Absences; Hints to Pilgrims; The Oblivion Ha-Ha; and The Lost Pilot, which was selected by Dudley Fitts for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. He teaches at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.

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